Maths micro-credential course to fill gap in teacher knowledge

1 July, 2024

Strengthen teacher capability and you increase student capability, said Wellington Uni-Professional CEO John Milford today when announcing a new course to support primary and secondary teachers to increase their knowledge and confidence to teach mathematics.

The 5-point micro-credential course will develop positive mathematical identities of both learners and teachers, enabling teachers to support students with diverse mathematics learning needs to move away from mathematical misunderstandings and misconceptions, and to develop a clear understanding as it relates to proportional thinking—fractions, decimals and percentages.

The course will be delivered entirely online over eight weeks and include three webinars. Content will be covered within 5 modules:

  • Developing positive learner attitudes to learning mathematics
  • Successful teaching about fractions and proportions
  • Successful teaching about decimals
  • Successful teaching about percentages
  • Proportional thinking and reasoning and revisiting key course themes

A recent report by NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) shows 25 per cent of primary teachers employed between 2017 and 2022 lack the most basic school qualifications in maths, failing to gain an Achieved level endorsement at Level 1 for maths. That means, on average, a quarter of all new primary school teachers who attempted could not pass, at a basic level, the compulsory maths required of 15-year-olds. But it could go back further, even to new teachers of 20 years ago, according to NZIER.

Wellington Uni-Professional CEO John Milford says the report highlights a very concerning gap in New Zealand’s education system, particularly for primary students.

“We hear a lot about how New Zealand has fallen behind many other countries when it comes to school achievement, with maths being one of the main ones. Maths is something you carry with you and need for all your life. Even if you don’t particularly like it, there will always be a need for it, and to ensure children have a grasp of it we need teachers who are knowledgeable and confident to teach it.

“It is essential students leave school with this knowledge as they are a part of everyday life, whether it be cooking a meal or measuring some part of a house. The report was a wake-up call that if we are to better prepare our children for later life then we need teachers with better knowledge and confidence to effectively teach maths, and this course will help greatly with that.

“As NZIER Deputy Chief Executive Sarah Hogan says, teachers need to know a subject well so they can teach it effectively, and if there’s only a basic knowledge then they’re limited in what they can offer children. She pointed out that research also shows if teachers have only a basic knowledge, then they have quite low confidence to teach it. It is vital we change that.

“We know building better teachers builds better learning and better students,” Mr Milford said.

“This course is designed to support teachers working with students from Years 4 to 10 who want to learn powerful mathematics-teaching strategies and develop their confidence to teach mathematics effectively. Participants will explore, discuss, and design evidence-based ways of helping students understand, use, and enjoy mathematical ideas.

“The course will share engaging and fun ways to use equipment, representations and real-life contexts to advance successful maths learning and promote confidence and pleasure in understanding and using mathematical ideas. We’ve also included cameo videos of great teachers sharing the ways they teach about fractions, decimals and percentages.”

The course is eligible for a subsidy from the Ministry of Education through the Tertiary Fees Funding Support, enabling participants to get a 50 per cent rebate on completion.

The first cohort of the course will run from 26 July 2024. Further information is available here.

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Craker, Programmes Manager Education
022 5699 612

John Milford, Chief Executive
027 580 3064

Kāpuhipuhi Wellington-Uni Professional offers Aotearoa New Zealand’s most complete range of contemporary skills training—providing accessible and industry-led education to learners through short courses, micro-credentials, and programmes.

Kāpuhipuhi Wellington Uni Professional was established early 2021, as a 100% owned subsidiary of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. The organisation aims to be a strategic partner to the University.